What Food Can Cause Botulism?

What food can cause botulism?

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a bacterium which occurs in soil. It produces a toxin that affects your nerves. Botulism food poisoning (also called foodborne botulism) comes from eating foods contaminated with the toxin.

Here are the common food sources of botulism:

Infants less than 1 year old (also called infant botulism)

  • honey
  • home-canned vegetables and fruits
  • corn syrup

Children and adults

  • home-canned foods with a low acid content, such as corn, green beans, and beets
  • improperly canned commercial foods
  • home-canned or fermented fish, herb-infused oils, baked potatoes in aluminum foil, cheese sauce, bottled garlic
  • foods held warm for extended periods of time

Do not hesitate to throw the canned food when you see it

  • is leaking, moldy, or has bulges
  • looks damaged or cracked
  • spurts liquid or foam when you open it
  • has an abnormal color or smells bad

If, unfortunately, you or your family members get botulism, make an emergency call such as 911 immediately.


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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.